Hancock County students will report to school on Wednesday, the earliest start to the academic year in modern times for local pupils, following the adoption of a balanced calendar by the four county school districts.
The Aug. 1 start is two weeks earlier than past years, and students will now have two-week fall and spring breaks.
Those classroom changes will have an effect on the playing field, where athletes gathered Monday at Eastern Hancock, Greenfield-Central, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine for the first official day of team practices, per Indiana High School Athletic Association rules. The IHSAA hasn’t made any adjustments to its calendar in regard to the balanced or “year-round” school trend.
Under the old school docket, sports teams had two weeks of two-a-day conditioning and scrimmages before school began to prep for the season, which will begin the week of Aug. 13 for most squads. Now, with teachers (and, accordingly, most coaches) reporting to school today in advance of the students, many teams used Monday as their only two-a-day affair. Football, volleyball, soccer, cross country, girls’ golf and boys’ tennis teams will have only after-school hours to hone their skills, although a few teams might try to squeeze in a before-school morning workout.
“I don’t think any of the fall coaches like that right now,” Mt. Vernon volleyball coach Kris Lashaway said of the balanced calendar. “It took a little bit of time away and I feel rushed a little bit with it. But everybody’s going to adjust and we’ll just do what we have to do.”
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